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Information About Bike Helmets

It's a familiar and picturesque scene......A child riding down a tree-lined street on their bike, the wind blowing through their hair.

But it's also a dangerous scene. They're not wearing a helmet!

Each year, nearly 1 million children are treated for bicycle injuries. 260,000 of these injuries involve trauma to the head. One third of these head injuries involve permanent brain damage.

One of the most simple and effective ways to prevent brain injury is to wear a bicycle helmet. Many bicycle accidents occur in quiet residential neighborhoods, parks and driveways. Wearing a helmet for a short trip to the store or to a neighbor's home may seem unnecessary to you or to your child, but it is the most important situation in which to wear a helmet.

As the cycling season begins, Valley View Hospital is reminding parents to start and enforce the helmet habit. While bicycling is great fun and great exercise for your family, these precautions will help your family to enjoy this sport safely.

The facts:

  • Fatalities from bicycle accidents rise rapidly from age 5 and are the highest among 10-13 year olds. Boys are injured twice as often as girls.
  • Fatalities are more likely to occur during the warm months, May through September. Peak hours are after school from 3 to 6 p.m.
  • A safely constructed bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of injury by 85%. Get a bike helmet with a plastic shell that is certified to Snell or ANSI standards.

The helmet habit:

  • Don't let any child ride a tricycle or bicycle without a helmet. Also insist on helmet use when skating or using skateboards.
  • Talk to your children about the importance of wearing a helmet. Be honest with them about the injuries you are trying to prevent.
  • When you ride or skate, wear your helmet. Your example is very important in establishing the helmet habit.
  • Start having your child wear a helmet when he or she first begins riding a tricycle. This will help the helmet to become a natural habit for riding.
  • Let each child select a helmet that he or she likes and finds comfortable. Make sure it is adjusted for a correct fit.
  • Let your child decorate the helmet with stickers or decals to make it "cool". During the pre-teen years, when appearance becomes so important, peer pressure is a major obstacle to wearing a helmet.
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